When people find out about my healthy lifestyle and blog, they have different reactions. Most people are interested, and want to learn more. Others often feed me excuses for why they don’t eat healthy. (Including, but not limited to: “I don’t have time.”, “I don’t know how to eat healthy.”, “I don’t really care about eating healthy.”, blah blah blah, the list goes on and on)
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But the 2 main reasons of why people tell me they don’t eat healthy: #1 They say it is too expensive and #2 They say it is too complicated.
Now… don’t get me wrong. I will be the first one to admit that a lot of ‘health’ foods are expensive. As a recent college graduate with student loans up to my ears… everything seems expensive. However, I’m a firm believer in the whole ‘You get what you pay for’ saying. I’m willing to pay a little bit more for a quality product that I know is good for me. I’m also a firm believer in coupons… and I have some to share with you, along with tips on how to save money and enjoy eating healthy.
As for the ‘Healthy Eating is Complicated’ part… I suggest you check out my 5 Simple Steps for Healthier Eating post. If you read on and see what I eat every day, you will see that there is nothing complicated about it. Eat real foods, read your labels, and make smart choices. Simple as that. As for the $$ part – here are my tips!
Top Tips for Saving Money when Eating Healthy
- Buy in bulk. If you don’t have a Costco, BJ’s or Sam’s Club Membership – invest in one. I have a membership at Costco, and I would have to guess that I save at least $500 a year with it.. probably more! I buy everything I can in bulk- especially meats and produce. Costco has an awesome array of meat, poultry and fish (organic and wild caught are not always available, but I usually do find them). You can buy a pack of 12 chicken breasts for under $20, or 5 lbs of ground turkey for around $18. It never fails to amaze me. I use what I need when I first buy it, then package it up and freeze it for the next time I need it. The produce is always super fresh, and they have a surprisingly large selection of my favorite healthy staples like quinoa, beans, vitamins, eggs, yogurt..etc. I’m not a member at any other wholesale club, so I can’t vouch for them, but Costco is awesome.
- Use coupons – I am the queen of coupons. Whether I’m buying a new pair of shoes, or testing out a new nut butter… I will rarely buy anything without a coupon. I’m going to share a few awesome coupon codes with you (All of which don’t expire) But if you’re ever looking for a coupon for a specific brand – just Google it! 99% of the time you will find something.
- Plan ahead– Eating out at restaurants, or even going to the grocery store every day can be very expensive. When you plan you meals and snacks ahead of time, you’re always armed with the right choice AND you save money. A total win-win situation.
Here are some ideas of what we eat on a regular basis (Broken down by cost as best that we can to show you that your healthy meals can actually be affordable)
- Scrambled Eggs/Egg Whites – Super high in protein so they keep you feeling full throughout the morning. I buy egg whites and eggs in bulk, and when I did the math – they came out to 1/4 of the price that I pay at my local grocery store- about $1.50 for my breakfast!
- Protein Pancakes – Make your own with our recipe or just keep it simple and buy a mix. About Time Protein Pancake Mix is my favorite. They are the best tasting, fluffiest pancake mix I have tried. (plus 21g of protein, 290 calories, 6g fiber) ‘CLEANEATING’ saves you 25% off your order of them… Making each serving $2.10…. I mean where are you gonna get breakfast for under $3?!! Oh and did I mention that all you have to do with this mix is add water? Yeah. I know. It’s awesome.
- Chicken Sausage, Steak, or Chicken Breast- Seems weird at breakfast time, but your stomach doesn’t know what time it is! I was never a fan of bacon, ham, or any other breakfast ‘meat’ so I just do my own thing. If you buy in bulk, all of these make for a very cheap breakfast. Double points if you re-purpose lunch or dinner leftovers.. then you don’t have to cook AND you’re not wasting food 🙂
- Protein Donuts– Cause sometimes you just need a donut. End of story.
- I pretty much eat the same things for lunch and dinner, and eat the same meal multiple times throughout the week. Meal prepping saves me a lot of time and effort, and I don’t mind eating similar meals.
- I buy all of my meats in bulk at Costco, and then cook them different ways so it doesn’t get boring.
- Some of my favorite recipes:
- Healthy Turkey Meatballs
- Chicken Caprese Zoodle Bowls (Or just ground turkey with the Mexican spice blend from this recipe)
- Clean Eating Chicken Pad Thai
- Fiesta Turkey Meatloaf
- Snacking can turn unhealthy and expensive pretty quickly if you aren’t prepared. I always bring my own snacks wherever I go. That way I know I always have a healthy choice, and I don’t get stuck running to the store or trying to find a vending machine.
- My favorite home made snacks are:
But I can’t always take something perishable with me, or I don’t always have the time to make something.. so there are a few brands that I love for snacks (with some coupons for them!)
- Enlightened Crisps are another one of my favorite snacks. They are crispy roasted broad beans that are so yummy! They come in resealable bags, so they’re great to keep in your car or in your purse. The crisps come in 5 different flavors: Sea Salt, Wasabi, Mesquite BBQ, Sriracha, and Garlic & Onion. My favorites are the Sea Salt and Garlic & Onion. ‘cleaneating’ saves you 20% off at the checkout, which makes each bag less than $3.50.
- When in doubt on what to snack on.. I turn to About Time Protein Shakes or Bars. You can keep the individual packs of protein powder or bars in your car, purse, gym bag, or wherever else. As I mentioned before, everything they make is made with real ingredients, and both the shakes and the bars are very filling. ‘cleaneating’ saves you 25% off their products. Making each shake $1.10 and each bar $2.25.
- ALOHA Trail Mix is also a great on-the-go snack. It is packed with raw nuts, seeds and dried fruits. I love this mix because unlike other trail mixes – it isn’t loaded with sugar-y candies or dried fruit. Everything in it is real, with nothing artificial added! It is dairy, gluten and soy free. It is also organic, Paleo, Whole30 and vegan friendly. Their protein shakes and Superfood Chocolate are also delicious – and if you use our coupon code ‘CLEANEATING’ you get 20% off all of their products!
- If none of these snacks are doing it for ya… check out FitSnack AKA my favorite way to find new snacks! FitSnack is a monthly subscription box that is filled with healthy snacks. For less than $20 a month, you get a box full (and I mean really full) with nutritious snacks. Each month is different, so you’re always trying new things. Here’s what was in last month’s box if you’re interested in learning more about it. If you want to sign up for FitSnack – click here and you can 50% off your first box 🙂
What are your favorite ways to keep it healthy and simple on a budget? Let me us know in the comments 🙂